Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSM&O)

Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSM&O) reflects the increased emphasis on maximizing the effectiveness of our existing transportation network. TSM&O concepts, which are based on a collection of well-known traffic management strategies, can provide the means to cost effectively optimize the performance of the roadway system to help address increased traffic demands and the resulting congestion and delays.

The concept is simple – by monitoring the performance of the system, we can respond with countermeasures that are appropriate to the conditions. It’s a concept that has been the basis for freeway traffic management for years – observing traffic conditions through travel speed and video camera monitoring, responding to incidents with the appropriate actions to minimize their duration, and providing information to motorists. However, its application to signalized arterials has not been widespread in the past.

The figure below shows the sources of arterial traffic congestion, based on a study performed for the Federal Highway Administration. Physical capacity constraints (bottlenecks) cause about 40 percent of our arterial congestion; these can only be addressed through capacity expanding construction projects. However, the remaining 60 percent of congestion sources provide opportunities for improvement through TSM&O activities.

Albeck Gerken, Inc. has long been a leader in providing optimized arterial signal timing. But, that’s only a small piece of the congestion sources pie. Using TSM&O concepts through modern traffic signal control systems, the other non-capacity related congestion sources can also be mitigated. For example, special timing patterns can be developed in advance and used when needed to help address special events (pre- and post- event), severe weather (evacuation and rain/snow patterns), and traffic incidents (diversion routes). In addition, monitoring travel times through work zones can help identify deficiencies in Maintenance of Traffic operations for correction by the contractor. Albeck Gerken, Inc. can help provide the foundation for real-time arterial traffic management.